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Ms. "The First World War"

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page 37

was not until the close of January 1919 that Secretary of War N.D. Baker dared to brave public indignation, by boldly announcing that he had DECIDED TO USE HIS POWER FOR GRANTING CLEMENCY in the case of 113 C.O.’s at Ft. Leavenworth. Our life under the military was subject to frequent changes; for periods we were happy and contented, and then came days of fear and anxiety, and sometimes a longing to be free from the vice-like grip that held us in the military machine, and from which we could in no way extricate ourselves. At times we felt like the Israelites in bondage. Psalm 137:1. For consolation I sometimes repeated a line of Longfellow’s “Rainy Days.”

Be still sad heart, and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining. Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall Some days MUST be dark and dreary.

God was moving mightily in the interest of a group of His children, and he was using a man clad in civil authority to do it. “Wenn die Stunden sich gefunden, bricht die Hilf’ mit Macht herein”. That sweeping order of Secretary Baker I believe included the Nullification of our sentences and all references thereto expunged from the records. I conclude this from the fact that our certificates of discharge made no mention of all this.

On the morning of January 27, 1919, after mess all 113 whose names had already appeared in the columns of a nearby daily, were marched into a large hall where we were to be mustered out of service; the whole prison city was excited. If this could happen to 113 at one time, and C.O.’s at that, “what good news might come to the rest of us yet,” thought many. It was regarded as a straw indicating the direction of the wind. It took

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